While most of the Indian startup ecosystem is focused towards e-commerce and internet-based entrepreneurial activities, Kerala — in a unique preposition — has tied up with Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to incubate and promote startups in the satellite and space technology sector, reported Indian Express.
In a collaboration between the two, Kerala state government will set up India’s first of its kind ‘space park’ with the technical support from ISRO.
“There’re a number of space technology startups in India, most of them based in Bengaluru. If government support is provided, they can flourish into major business establishments in the future.”, said a top official of Kerala IT department, to Indian Express.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan had discussed starting a space park in the state with the ISRO and they’ve promised to provide technical support to the project, added the official.
However, it is to be noted that the space park is still in a nascent stage and a lot of work has to be done to realise this project.
In a media interaction, M Sivasankar, Secretary to Government, Electronics and IT Department, Kerala said, “Hundreds of officers retire from the ISRO every year. Similarly, hundreds of graduates pass out from premier centres like Indian Institute of Space Technology. If we create a platform to tap the knowledge potential of these two groups, it can lead to a major contribution to space technology.” The idea of space park was conceptualized during meeting of the Chief Minister with top ISRO officers a few months ago.
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Earlier this year, Bengaluru-based spacetech startup Team Indus’ ambitious plan to land robot on the moon got destroyed when ISRO cancelled the contract as the startup could not able to raise sufficient funds. Therefore, if the idea of Kerala’s space park takes in the form of reality and become operational then startups like Team Indus would indeed get lot of help and encouragement to pursue their space technology dreams. Notably, Team Indus was the only Indian entry into Google Lunar X Prize, a global race to reach the moon. Team Indus also had a “rideshare” agreement with Japanese space startup to carry a 4 kg robotic rover on its 600-kg spacecraft.
Besides Team Indus, another more popular spacetech startup from India is Earth2Orbit [E2O], India’s first private space startup, which facilitates satellite launches for various countries, international organizations and companies using Indian launch vehicles such as PSLV of ISRO.
ISRO is indeed a role model for other countries’ space agencies in space technology and its applications which have been contributing to the India’s economy apart from the exploration of space and planets. Last year, we reported as how ISRO pose a hidden tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups in India as its geospatial and weather-related data can be explored by the startups for coming up with innovative solutions so much so that startups could make millions using ISRO data.
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